Flash floods kill more than 300 in northern Afghanistan after heavy rain

Flash floods from heavy seasonal rains in Afghanistan have killed more than 300 people and destroyed over 1,000 houses, the UN food agency said.

The World Food Programme said it was distributing fortified biscuits to the survivors of one of the many floods that hit Afghanistan over the last few weeks, mostly in the northern province of Baghlan, which bore the brunt of the deluges on Friday.

In neighbouring Takhar province, state-owned media outlets reported the floods had killed at least 20 people.

Zabihullah Mujahid, chief spokesman for the Taliban government, said “hundreds … have succumbed to these calamitous floods, while a substantial number have sustained injuries”.

Afghanistan Floods
Damaged homes in Baghlan province (Mehrab Ibrahimi/AP)

He said the government had ordered all available resources mobilised to rescue people, transport the injured and recover the dead.

The floods hit as Afghanistan is still reeling from a string of earthquakes at the beginning of the year as well as severe flooding in March, said Salma Ben Aissa, Afghanistan director for the International Rescue Committee.

“Communities have lost entire families, while livelihoods have been decimated as a result,” she said.

“This should sound an alarm bell for world leaders and international donors: we call upon them to not forget Afghanistan during these turbulent global times.”

Afghanistan Floods
An elderly man collects his belongings from his damaged home after heavy flooding in Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan (Mehrab Ibrahimi/AP)

It said the agency is preparing to scale up its emergency response in affected areas.

The Taliban Defence Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the country’s air force is evacuating people in Baghlan and has rescued a large number who were stuck in flooded areas and transported 100 injured people to military hospitals in the region.

Richard Bennett, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, said the floods are a stark reminder of Afghanistan’s vulnerability to the climate crisis and both immediate aid and long-term planning by the Taliban and international actors are needed.

Videos posted on social media showed dozens of people gathered on Saturday behind the hospital in Baghlan looking for their loved ones. An official tells them they should start digging graves while staff prepare the bodies.

At least 70 people died from heavy rains and flash flooding in April in the country, officials said. About 2,000 homes, three mosques and four schools were also damaged.

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –